Which of these Norwegian Christmas traditions is the strangest?

A Norwegian Christmas is a lot more than gingerbread, gløgg and tasteful decor.

Which of these Norwegian Christmas traditions is the strangest?
Yes, that's weird. Photo: Garaasen, Haakon / Anno Trysil Engerdal museum
From dressing up as a goat-like devil when you go out 'julebukking' to leaving porridge for your ill-tempered house spirit, Norway has certainly kept more pagan jul traditions than many other Christmas-celebrating countries. 
Here are some of the country's weirder traditions. 
Marzipan pigs

Photo: Depositphotos
There's something gloriously bizarre about the prize traditionally given to whoever finds the almond Norwegian parents drop in the special Christmas porridge. And speaking of bizarre, last year two Norwegian artists took the tradition one step further by making a world-record marzipan pig, complete with a giant pile of marzipan poo.
Watching ancient Disney cartoons
It's only in the Nordic countries that anyone knows who Ferdinand the Bull is. But that's because everyone has watched the exact same ten cartoons every Christmas Eve since 1953. Disney's 'Donald Duck og vennene hans', or 'Donald Duck and his Friends', goes out this Christmas on NRK at 3pm, as it has done every year for as long as anyone remembers. To those who aren't in on the joke, this is very odd indeed.
Trick-or-treating at Christmas
There's little difference between what Norwegians do when they går julebukk, and what the rest of the world does at Halloween. Children travel in costume from house to house, singing in exchange for sweets. If adults go too, they are ideally so well disguised as to be unrecognisable. They then drink a glass of akvavit at every house, ideally until they are incomprehensible.
By the way, if you think the adults who går julebukk today seem eery, it's nothing to what they looked like back in the day:
Eating ribs instead of roasts

Photo: AnneCN
When Norwegians sit down for their Christmas meal, it's either pork (julribbe) or lamb (pinnekjøtt) ribs for the main course. Not a turkey in sight.
Dancing around the Christmas tree

Photo: Depositphotos
Foreigners who marry into Norwegian families can be disconcerted when asked to join hands and dance around the tree. The strangeness is only increased when accompanied by songs from God Jul, the 1967 album by Norwegian show band Dizzie Tunes.
Watching Tre Nøtter til Askepott

Norwegians would feel their Christmas was incomplete without watching Tre Nøtter til Askepott, or Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, an East German-Czechoslovak adventure film from the early 1970s. If anything this is even weirder than the cartoons.
Making terrible attempts to play Santa
At Norwegian Christmas celebrations, Santa Claus, or julenissen, actually turns up. How can Norwegian children believe in Father Christmas when they get to meet him face-to-face? After popping out “to get the paper”, a parent or other relative returns with a fake beard and some kind of heavy coat and hat. Few children are deceived.
Going overboard on julekjeks
Photo: wizzer2801/Creative Commons
According to some traditions, Norwegians are supposed to bake no fewer than seven varieties of biscuit in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. Indeed, so important is the pre-Christmas bake, that Norwegians have even spurred butter shortages from their hoarding.

Leaving porridge out for the nisse


Photo: Depositphotos
If the nisse, a sort of gnome-like guardian spirit who lives in Norwegian barns, doesn't get porridge left out for him with big dollop of butter on top, Norwegians believe he will wreak vengeance by playing mean tricks such as tying cows' tails together. It's a much more serious matter than leaving a glass of sherry for Father Christmas.


Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

A significant increase in families have sought Christmas help from the Danish Red Cross compared to last winter.

Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

Higher process for food, electricity, gas and fuel are being felt by vulnerable families in Denmark, driving more to apply for Christmas packages offered by the Red Cross, broadcaster DR writes.

The NGO said in a statement that more people than ever before have applied for its Christmas help or julehjælp assistance for vulnerable families.

While 15,000 people applied for the charity last year, the number has already reached 20,000 in 2022.

“We are in an extraordinary situation this year where a lot more people have to account for every single krone to make their finances work,” Danish Red Cross general secretary Anders Ladekarl said in the press statement.

“For many more, their finances no longer work, and this is unfortunately reflected by these numbers,” he said.

The Red Cross Christmas assistance consists of a voucher worth 900 kroner redeemable at Coop stores or, in some stores, a hamper consisting of products.

READ ALSO: These are Denmark’s deadlines for sending international mail in time for Christmas